This report presents data on the status of lower trophic level components of the Lake Ontario ecosystem (zooplankton, phytoplankton, nutrients) in 2010 and compares the 2010 data with available time series. Lower trophic levels are indicators of ecosystem health [as identified by the Lake Ontario Pelagic Community Health Indicator Committee (EPA 1993) and presented in the biennial State of the Lake Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) reports] and determine the lake’s ability to support the prey fish upon which both wild and stocked salmonids depend. Understanding the production potential of lower trophic levels is also integral to ecosystem-based management. Continued evaluation of lower trophic levels is particularly important for fisheries management, as the observed declines in alewife and Chinook salmon in Lake Huron in 2003 may have been partly the result of changes in lower trophic levels (Barbiero et al. 2009).
Holeck, Kristen T.; Hotaling, Christopher; Swan, Jonathan W.; Rudstam, Lars G.; McCullough, Russ; Lemmon, Dave; Pearsall, Web; Lantry, Jana R.; Connerton, Mike; LaPan, Steve; Trometer, Betsy; Lantry, Brian F.; Walsh, Maureen; and Weidel, Brian, "2010 Status of the Lake Ontario Lower Trophic Levels" (2010). Technical Reports. 70.